- Business - Mediterranean migration analysis

By Jack Hogan

Mediterranean migration analysis

The Superyacht Agency takes a look at the number of active yachts in the Med since 2015, and the pressure this may put on the infrastructure network…

The number of yachts cruising in the Mediterranean is central to the superyacht industry, and representative of the capacity and growth of the infrastructure networks that support it. A recent survey conducted by The Superyacht Agency and IGY Marinas asked captains and decision-makers if they felt there was a shortage of berthing for 50m+ yachts in the Mediterranean, with almost 100 percent of respondents affirming that there was.

Of those asked, a further 86 percent said that the issue was at its most acute in the Western Med. The Superyacht Agency looks at the wider trends by using the AIS data of active 30m+ yachts in the region since 2015.

For the purposes of this analysis, geographically the western Med has been separated from the eastern Med at the Adriatic. 'Active yachts' are those cruising with their AIS updated, giving multiple data points across a calendar 12-month period in the region.


The 2020 COVID impacts are clear, where some yachts either left the Med or stayed inactive, skewing the data. The data shows that in absolute numbers, there is a roughly proportional increase in active yachts in both regions. Some yachts will have undoubtedly been represented in both regions, and the dataset has been divided in line with the specific regional question asked in the original survey.

The dotted trend line in both regions shows the percentage of the overall 30m+ fleet that this represents, accounting for fleet growth. This indicates that while the numbers have increased, the actual percentage of the fleet has dropped since the pandemic, although very slightly.

The absolute numbers are still increasing, mostly attributable to new launches. When aggregated, these data show that the Med's consistent appeal is leading to more active yachts cruising both the eastern and western Med. The demand for berthing, anchorage, and services is likely to increase with the increase in fleet size year on year.

The relatively constant delivery rates since 2015 outlined above provided equally stable forecasting models. Plotted below are these models, with divergent trend lines for optimal, average, and sub-optimal growth.

As can be seen below, assuming average fleet growth and a consistent ratio of around 25 percent of the fleet as being active in the western Mediterranean in any 12-month period, the region can expect around 1700 active 30m+ yachts cruising the region each year by 2030, around 350 more than 2022. While the numbers are less pronounced, the eastern Med will also see far more large yacht visitation, assuming the current proportions stay the same.

High-season berthing is already at a premium in most regions, reflected both anecdotally and in the data. The traditional hotspots are straining under the pressure and new infrastructure developments, while encouraging, may need to be accelerated to meet this demand.

The movement of yachts further east, and then eventually through to the nascent Red Sea regional developments to create a new seasonal pattern, may potentially elevate this pressure, but is still theoretical. The Med remains the beating heart of the industry, and for active yachts seeking to berth in the high season between now and 2030, more options will need to come online.


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Island Global Yachting (IGY)

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